Make-Ahead Ribs

The process is a little lengthy, but it’s well worth the time and effort. When you take these out of the freezer, they only need a quick broil or toss on the grill.

Makes: 3Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 4 hours 45 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Makes: 3


  • 3 lbs. pork spareribs
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. mesquite powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1⁄4 cup whiskey
  • 1⁄4 cup molasses
  • 1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hearty mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper


  • Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • Remove membrane from underside of ribs. Trim off any loose fat. Make a rub by combining brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon zest, orange zest, basil, mesquite powder, and cayenne together in a small bowl. Rub both sides of the ribs with the mixture. Wrap in plastic wrap, followed by foil, and place directly on oven rack; cook 4 hours. Cool and remove wraps.
  • While ribs cook, prepare the sauce. Combine ketchup, whiskey, molasses, vinegar, olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 1 hour. The sauce will reduce a bit during this time.
  • Heat grill and cook ribs about 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145°F. Brush with sauce on each turn.
  • Once the ribs are fully cooked, remove from the grill and cool. Wrap with freezer-safe plastic wrap and again with aluminum foil. Label and date. The ribs are good for 6 months.